- Estonia will hold annual military exercises involving about 4,500 personnel from
several NATO countries on May 9-25, the General Staff of the Estonian Defense Forces
said. The Spring Storm drills have been held annually in different parts of Estonia
since 2003. This year they will involve for the first time units from the UK, Belgium
and Poland as well as the Estonian navy.
"Spring Storm will this year bring together in North Estonia conscripts, reservists, Kaitseliit [Estonian paramilitary organization] members and professional military, as well as our NATO allies with one common goal - to learn to better defend Estonia," said the commanding officer of the exercise, Commander of the Army Col. Artur Tiganik in a statement relayed by Russian Ria-Novosti news agency .
NATO allies will be represented by an infantry company from the UK and Latvia each, a reconnaissance platoon from Lithuania and an anti-aircraft missile platoon from Belgium.
In addition, an unspecified number of Polish Sukhoi Su-22 attack aircraft will take part. Estonia, as well as two other ex-Soviet republics in the Baltics – Latvia and Lithuania, joined NATO in March 2004.